Tributes are flowing in for our long serving Mayor Lilliane Brady OAM who passed away peacefully at Cobar Hospital on Sunday at age 90.
Over Cobar’s 150 years of history, many people have helped to shape Cobar’s identity as a community but none more-so than Lilliane Brady OAM.
The tributes have come from all levels of government, the business and racing communities as well as local and former residents.
While not born and bred in Cobar, Lilliane was proudly passionate about “her” town.
She came to Cobar in 1969 with her husband Dr Allan Brady and the youngest of her three children, Allan (‘Pally’).
Daughters Sue and Deidrei were nursing and at boarding school respectively when the family moved to Cobar “just for 12 months”.
The family continued to call Cobar home until Dr Brady’s passing in January 2010 and now Lilliane’s this week.
Lilliane was a woman who was not afraid to speak her mind and always told it like it was.
“Men run the mines, but it’s women who run this town,” Lilliane once said in an interview.
In her Local Government political career, which spanned almost 40 years, Lilliane had numerous contacts in all levels of government.
She had a way of securing funding for whatever project that needed doing—whether it was sourced by a government grant or money that was fundraised locally.
Lilliane Brady OAM leaves behind a long legacy having served as a Councillor for almost 40 years and almost 20 of those as mayor, which earned her the title of NSW’s longest serving female mayor.
In 2012 at the Australia Day awards, Lilliane was honoured with an Order of Australia Medal for her dedicated service to Local Government and the Cobar community.
In 2018, she was acknowledged with a Local Government NSW Association Lifetime Achievement Award.
In 2019 she was honoured with another Lifetime Achievement Award from the Mines and Energy Related Council (of which she had a long association).
Last year she received the inaugural Ministers’ Award for Women in Local Government.
Lilliane was first elected to Cobar Shire Council in 1976 and initially served for 12 years.
She returned to Council in September 1995, was duly elected as mayor and served as mayor until 2001.
She continued to serve as a councillor for a further six years before once again being elected to the mayoral role in September 2007. Lilliane held the position until her death this week.
Working with deputy mayors including Frank Brown (deceased), Tony Chaplain, Barry Knight, Marsha Isbester, Greg Martin, Jarrod Marsden, Tracey Kings and most recently Peter Abbott, she achieved much in her time in Local Government.
Lilliane has been a member of various council committees and a delegate to various organisations including (Western Division of Councils Orana Regional Organisation of Councils), Association of Mine Related Councils, Western Division Group of Shires (of which she was elected as the groups first female president).
She was also the inaugural chair of the Far North West Joint Organisation.
Lilliane also served on various fundraising committees including: the Lilliane Brady Village Geriatric Committee, Cobar Mayoral Community Chest, Relay for Life, Cobar Show Society, a hospital fundraiser, the HMAS Rankin visit in 2004, the football charity challenge for Victorian Bushfire Appeal (2009), coordinated a fundraiser for cemetery repairs in 2012 (following an act of vandalism), she hosted a Street Party to cheer up the community in 2016, joined ‘sister-shire’ Eurobodalla for a rain dance. (A fundraiser for Cobar’s drought affected farmers) in 2018 and that same year also she also networked with another ‘sister-shire’ Canterbury-Bankstown Council for Cobar’s drought relief.
Lilliane was the driving force behind a number of local and western area projects.
She initiated the construction of the Lilliane Brady Village retirement home, fought for the sealing of the Kidman Way, pushed for Cobar’s new hospital, was always campaigning to get the community a fairer return on Cobar’s mining royalties, she worked to bring air services to Cobar (on more than one occasion), she worked for many years to help solve Cobar’s water issues, she’s fought for a range of local infrastructure projects worth millions of dollars, she campaigned for a number of years for the sealing of The Wool Track, and her latest project was to establish a Mining School in Cobar.
In her time she hosted members of government from all levels and many Ministers and politicians quickly learnt not to underestimate Lilliane’s determination to get the best possible outcomes for Cobar.
She was well known for telling one Minister that she was “here for finance, not romance”.
Apart from Local Government, Lilliane’s other passions included running her properties Noona, Mulchara Park, Tiltara and Everdale; horse racing—whether it was attending the Melbourne Cup or the Cobar Races (she also owned a number of successful race horses) and her grandchildren, of whom she was immensely proud.
With ongoing poor health, Lilliane announced in 2019 that she would not be seeking re-election after the September 2020 Council elections.
(The COVID pandemic however saw the elections postponed. Lilliane also had a change of heart after her integrity was challenged at a Council meeting.)
She dug her heels in, was re-elected as mayor and planned to continue to lead Council for another year.
Her desire was to then retire (in Cobar) and to spend more time with her family.
Lilliane is survived by her three children, Sue, Deirdrei and Allan and her six grandchildren Neisha, Rhys, Elise, Cassie, Hannah and Mitchell.
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro, who Lilliane knew quite well, has called for Lilliane to be honoured with a State Funeral.